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Oregon OSHA – Adopted Changes to Confined Spaces Standard

Oregon OSHA in consultation with stakeholders, developed a rule proposal to amend our current general industry/construction standard OAR 437-002-0146 Confined Spaces, to clarify certain areas of concern in the state-initiated rule adopted in 2012. These amendments were proposed in July with one hearing held in August 2014.

Changes from the proposed rule to the adopted rule include:

The proposed rule contained requirements that employers identify all confined spaces. The final rule requires only that employers identify their permit-required confined spaces.

There was a typo in the proposed rule regarding the exemption for excavation work. The final rule reflects that excavation work is exempt from the confined space rules except when workers must bodily enter a sewer space.

An exemption was added for power generation work regulated by the newly adopted federal OSHA rules on power generation in the construction industry. While Oregon OSHA has yet to adopt these rules, it is highly unlikely that the referenced rule will change dramatically.

Language was added to clarify that, when energy isolation is used to isolate the hazards of a permit space, employers must follow all of the provisions of 1910.147 The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). A note was added in the section regarding alternate entry that tagout alone does not eliminate a hazard.

A written agreement with third party entry rescue service providers is no longer required. A note was added to remind employers who plan on using an off-site rescue service that they need to contact that service and coordinate the evaluations required by the rule, and that simply posting a phone number or relying on emergency services is not adequate.

Language was added to clarify that retraining is necessary when previously unidentified hazards are discovered.

These rule amendments are adopted and will become effective for general industry on January 1, 2015, and for construction on March 1, 2015.

This is Oregon OSHA Administrative Order 5-2014, adopted October 20, 2014, and effective January 1, 2015 (construction industry: effective March 1, 2015). More Info



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